An interesting incident happened this past week to a friend – he had his identity stolen. More specifically, someone got a hold of his social security number (SSN), his date of birth (apparently) and his address. What the scammers or their “mules” (a term used to describe criminals who act on behalf of the actual criminal at their behest) did was that they went to the bank and requested to wire a huge sum of money to an account. The neat trick they played was before actually going to the bank they called the Verizon helpdesk and suspended my friend’s phone service. When they reached the bank and showed the bank agent the ID (some sort of a non-standard / fake ID) and gave the SSN to the bank agent, he/she grew suspicious and tried to contact my friend. However, due to Verizon suspending his phone service, the bank agent couldn’t get a hold of my friend. Luckily, the bank agent also sent my friend an email to which he responded promptly. The culprits were arrested and the investigation is still on.
What was quite interesting was, the modus operandi where the criminals know that banks rely on calling the customers if they suspect fraud and they had this covered. Quite intelligent.
So, you know what you need to do if your phone suddenly stops working – check if ID thieves have had a run on you, change all your passwords including email, change your credit card accounts and bank accounts and PINs and place a hold on your credit history with the credit reporting agencies such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.